1. Historical roots that go deep
1. Historical roots that go deep
The automobile was invented when Karl Benz developed one of the first internal combustion engines in the 1870s and fitted a coach to it in 1887. The other German companies are younger -- BMW didn't start making cars until 1928 -- but all of them have invested billions of euros in marketing their heritage. Just look at the lavish museums that have been erected in Stuttgart, Munich, and Ingolstadt. The Germans revere their cars, and customers respect that.

By Alex Taylor III, senior editor-at-large @FortuneMagazine - Last updated June 20 2012: 9:01 AM ET
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